Bemidji among 16 schools & companies to receive funding for school bus stop-arm cameras

Bemidji Bus Line is among 16 schools and companies that will receive state funding for stop-arm cameras on school buses.

According to a release from the Department of Public Safety, $1.4 million in grants were available for the project.

The grant program will combine enforcement, education and awareness efforts so drivers obey the law and stop for buses with their red flashing lights on and stop-arm extended. The cameras will help schools and law enforcement find the violators and hold them accountable.

Stop-arm camera videos from previous grantees​ highlight the dangerous prevalence of drivers not stopping for flashing lights and extended stop arms.

“It’s such a helpless, terrifying moment for both the child and the bus driver when a vehicle nearly strikes a student,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson.

“If you can’t pay attention and follow the law near a school bus, these cameras will help law enforcement find you so you don’t keep putting kids at risk and cause a senseless tragedy.”

Law enforcement agencies work with schools and transportation companies to cite drivers failing to stop for school buses with flashing lights and stop arms extended. From 2017 to 2021, law enforcement cited 4,652 drivers for stop-arm violations.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducts an annual illegal passing survey in Minnesota. School bus drivers observed 1,003 stop arm violations in a single day during the 2022 survey.

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